Billy Boy On Poison
Drama Junkie Queen (Ironworks Music/Universal)
Imagine you’re a famous Hollywood bad boy, with so much money piled up around the Malibu beachfront house that you decide to start up a vanity record label. Given that you already have a reputation for being a shit disturber—including DUI and assault charges—wouldn’t you want the bands on your roster to be just as badass as you? The goal, therefore, should be to assemble a true dream team of miscreants, reprobates, and all-round subhumans. Think pee-swillers in the vein of Black Lips. Or cockwaggers like that guy from Of Montreal. Or mental patients along the lines of Chicago’s obviously not-right-in-the-head Bobby Conn.
So who does Kiefer Sutherland sign to his record label, Ironworks Music? Well that would be Billy Boy on Poison, who look like early front-runners for the biggest band of poseurs since Louis XIV, not to mention half of this year’s Warped Tour lineup.
It’s debatable what’s most offensive about the quartet, which comprises singer Davis LeDuke, drummer Jes Calcaterra, and guitarists Ryan Wallengren and Greg West. Let’s start with the fact that the band’s members are from Los Angeles, but are evidently obsessed with Britain, right down to where the CD booklet photos in Drama Junkie Queen find them standing in front of a Union Jack. (Those who can’t get enough of the www.rockandrollconfidential.com feature known as Hall of Douchebags will also be pleased to note that there’s also a picture of the quartet in front of a brick wall).
This fixation on the U.K. explains why Billy Boy on Poison seems intent on ripping off—er, paying razor-honed homage—to almost every major musical trend that’s blown through Old Blighty over the past five decades. If sweeter-than-Sweet glam is your thing, head directly to “Saturday’s Child”. For Damned-style punk, check out “On My Way”. And those who are still holding out for a Beatles reunion might get some small measure of satisfaction out of “Leaf Clover”, which apes the Fab Four during the facial-hair years. (On the subject of “Leaf Clover”, a quick memo to LeDuke: Sir—you are from the San Fernando Valley. As a result you sound fucking ridiculous singing lines like “Father staggers through the door” and “Mother’s in the kitchen”. Seriously, no one on these shores sings about “Mother” and “Father” unless they are loaded enough that mangling “She’s Leaving Home” on an RJ Tech RJ-4200 Professional Karaoke Player machine suddenly seems like a good idea).
Slightly more irritating that the faux-Britishisms of Drama Junkie Queen is that the men of Billy Boy on Poison can play the shit out of their instruments. From the guitar pyrotechnics to the spawn-of-Bonham drum fills, these guys outgrew the garage long ago, doubly impressive considering that they are still in their teens. As for LeDuke, he sounds like he’s been privately tutored by Gary Glitter and that mono-browed Troglodyte from Oasis. Congratulations, guys, you can play, better than some of the bands you’ve chosen to shamelessly emulate. Now would it be asking too much to get you to write a song that actually sounds like your own?
As for the lyrics, a quick memo to LeDuke: Sir—I don’t know how much poon you’ve gotten in your time in a band, but I’m guessing not a lot. Part of the problem might be that lines such as “I’m leaking through your bedroom honey/I can make you wet!” are pretty much guaranteed to leave most chicks drier than an 80-year-old’s nun’s twat. Just so you know.
But the most offensive thing of all about Billy Boy on Poison is easily the band’s name. Astute Stanley Kubrick fans will have no problem recognizing the inspiration for the moniker; it’s from an early scene in A Clockwork Orange, where Alex and his droogs commit some truly brilliant ultraviolence against a rival street gang.
But Billy Boy on Poison? Considering all the brilliant lines in A Clockwork Orange, couldn’t they have come up with something truly daring? Why not call themselves Viddy Well Little Brother, Viddy Well? Or Naughty, Naughty, Naughty! You Filthy Old Soomka! Or, best of all, Come and Get One in the Yarbles, If You Have Any Yarbles That Is.
Now that would have been badass.
Download This: “On My Way”